Robert Pruitt


I'm working on a study in glitter of pandas in their natural bamboo habitat for a show at Gavin Brown's Enterprise. The pandas in the windows are drawings in acetate—studies for a silk-screen print I did for the New Museum. I was practicing my panda anatomy. I like the black and white of the pandas. For me it's a symbol of racial harmony and also the yin/yang, a sort of Zen balance. I also like that pandas are ferocious beasts but that they eat only bamboo—no other animals are at their mercy. Sadly, they are also a reminder of the way we've exploited the earth. It's hard to look at them without a twinge of guilt because there are only 2,000 of them left in the world, and maybe we're to blame. I use black glitter for the black parts and white glitter for the white parts and green for the bamboo. It's my attempt to add an element of glamour. There is no way really to capture the experience of sitting in the bamboo forest with the pandas, so in some feeble way, these paintings can approximate the splendor of nature.